Day One: Check

Hello all! We’re all settled in at Shepherd Community Center, and we’ve already had some great experiences in the first day. Today has given us a sense of what the week will look like, and we’re excited to see how it pans out.

When our team first arrived, we had a group discussion with Phil, a Shepherd representative who will be working with us some this week. We talked about our understanding of poverty, whether or not someone can pull himself or herself out of poverty without aid, and how we can personally help others in poverty. It was a valuable discussion, and we all learned different things from it. One thing that I (Cameron) took away was Phil’s insight that the elderly people who live around Shepherd will sometimes call 911 solely because they feel lonely. That blows my mind. There are people around here that are so hurting that they are willing to call policemen to their house just so that they will have an interaction with someone. It reminds me that people who are in poverty are lacking in more than just money: they are also in relational poverty, and they desperately want people who support and love them. This is a void that only Jesus can fill, and I hope and pray that He meets them.

Later in the afternoon, we did a mulching project on Shepherd’s two playgrounds with some Taylor University alumni. It was quite enjoyable interacting with former Taylor students as well as their highly energetic children. Also, several members of our team commented on how refreshing it was to do physical labor and to give our brains a rest from studying.

Then, after dinner, we had a team meeting. We talked about our initial thoughts and feelings from the day, sang worship songs, and got to hear testimonies from Julia and Jordan. It was a great time to both reflect as a team and to get to know each other better, and I’m excited for more debrief times.

All in all, it was a great day! We appreciate continued prayers for our team, especially that God would give us physical strength  and recovery from a tiresome week of classes. We’re anticipating learning, growth, and God-ordained ministry opportunities throughout the remainder of Spring Break.

-Cameron Eckmann

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